Sunday, 5 November 2017

Turtle brought to near space by China's 'Traveler 3' – via Herp Digest Tech & Science 10/28/17

What is it like to watch the Earth 20 kilometers up from the ground? Touring the "near space" might be one of our travel options in the near future.

An aircraft developed by Kuang-Chi Group, a tech company based in Shenzhen, was tested successfully in northwestern China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Wednesday. Dubbed Traveler 3, the aircraft was off the ground for over four hours and accomplished a series of experiments.

Traveler 3 consists of a giant helium balloon and a small capsule that carried a live turtle during the test. Made of polyethylene, the balloon will expand to about 18.8 meters in diameter and 2,150 cubic meters in size upon reaching the "near space" that is more than 20 kilometers away from the ground.

The aircraft can achieve both autonomous control and long-distance control. Equipped with communication system, Traveler 3 can send back environmental parameter, status data, as well as videos and images to the Earth. The turtle inside the capsule was secured by an internal life-support system to make sure it stays alive during the test.

Travel 3 Consists of a giant hello balloon ad a small capsule/Photo via Kuang-Chi Group

“In the experiment we conducted this time, we built a small manned capsule with all the vital parts,” said Zhou Fei, chief commander of the Traveler 3 project. “We are trying to build a very big manned capsule, which is similar to a manned re-entry capsule that can accommodate six people.”

According to Kuang-Chi Group, the experiment was the first time a live animal had been safely brought into near space. The developer will continue to improve the technology to achieve the goal of offering commercial flights to human in the near future.

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